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Marley Spoon Review: Is Martha Stewart’s Meal Delivery Kit Really Worth It?

By Dan Scalco • Last Updated: May 8, 2021 • Affiliate Disclosure

Marley Spoon Review

Product Name: Marley Spoon

  • Food Box HQ Rating
    4
4

Bottom Line

Marley Spoon isn’t perfect but they do have some of the best tasting meals out of any meal kit we’ve tried. If you’re a fan of Martha Stewart and are looking to bring your cooking skills to her level, this is a great meal kit to try.

Pros

They have some of the best tasting meals we’ve tasted to date.

They’re true to the Martha Stewart brand in offering gourmet meals that are easy to make.

Compared to many other meal kits, many meals have had decent sized potions.

Cons

Recently, we’ve found the meals to be more inconsistent in terms of recipe and taste.

They’ve taken away the chat feature, limiting customer service and expanding wait times for a support request.

There’s currently limited meal variety (only dinners and 1-3 lunch options).

Marley Spoon, also known as “Martha & Marley Spoon”, is one of the most popular meal kits available. This is namely due to the fact that they have the legend herself, Martha Stewart, as the face of their company.

Even with their popularity and Martha Stewart backing them, is Marley Spoon actually worth it?

We’ve used (and previously reviewed) the Martha & Marley Spoon meal kit since 2017. However, a lot has changed in that time.

Today we’re going to dive in and find out if Marley Spoon is still worth it by looking at their meals, plans, cooking process, and (most importantly) how everything tastes.

About Marley Spoon

All the popular meal kits these days have unique names and Marley Spoon is no different. However, theirs actually has an interesting backstory. Apparently, the founders were backpacking through Asia when a huge storm hit and they were forced to take shelter in a restaurant called “Marley’s”. The delicious, home cooked meals they ate to wait out the storm stuck with them and they decided to honor their experience by naming their new meal kit “Marley Spoon”.

How did Martha Stewart get involved? Well, Marley Spoon originated in Germany before making its way to the United States. The founders wanted to ease the transition to compete with the bigger US meal kits at the time (Blue Apron and HelloFresh) so they partnered with Martha Stewart to feature her recipes and cooking techniques in an all-in-one meal kit.

How Marley Spoon Works

Our Marley Spoon Sign Up Process

Marley Spoon works almost exactly like all of the other popular meal kits out there. When you sign up, they ask you some questions to get a better idea of what types of recipes to recommend to you:

  • What kind of recipes do you like? Vegetarian, beef, fish, lamb, pork, poultry, and/or shellfish?
  • Do you prefer recipes that are quick or relaxed?
  • Do you prefer recipes that are traditional or adventurous?
  • Do you prefer recipes that are hearty or light?
  • Do you prefer recipes that are mild or spicy?

They then give you a few example meals and ask if you like it, love it, or if it’s “not for me”.

Based on my answers, they seemed to do a good job of showing me meals that fit my preferences. Then again, I filled it out pretty broadly since I’m not too picky one way or another when it comes to food.

From there, you’ll have the ability to select your meals for the week (more on them below). They then send you those recipes, along with all the ingredients to make the meal. The ingredients come pre-bagged and pre-measured to make the cooking process a bit easier. Sometimes certain ingredients come pre-chopped or sliced too.

Marley Spoon’s Meal Plans

As of writing this, Marley Spoon offers 2 different meal plans—a two person meal plan and a four person meal plan. Within each of these plans, you can select how many different recipes you’d like to receive each week: 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6.

Each box you can make vegetarian. However, I found this severely limits the amount of meals you can select. For example, if you don’t select the vegetarian option, you have access to around 30 recipes per week. If you do select the vegetarian option, you have access to around 10. So, if you are looking for a purely vegetarian meal kit, you may want to consider other options like Sprinly or Purple Carrot.

Marley Spoon’s Meal Variety

Unpacking Our Marley Spoon Meals

Having used Marley Spoon for around 4 years at this point, the best way I can describe their meals is that they take fancy versions of classics and pare them down to be much easier to make. These are definitely Martha Stewart style meals. And by that I mean, they feel like an upgraded, fancy version of a home cooked meal.

In addition to dinners, Marley Spoon offers some lunch, dessert, and additional meat options as well. Here’s a brief idea of what types of foods you may find in each category:

Dinner Meal Examples

Lunch Meal Examples

Dessert Example

Additional Meat Examples

As you can see, Marley Spoon offers a pretty good variety of meals. I wouldn’t say there’s super adventurous meals like there are with Sunbasket. That being said, the meals they do offer seem to go that extra step to make them a bit more “gourmet”. This makes sense, given the fact that they’re trying to mimic Martha Stewart’s recipes.

Marley Spoon Recipe Cards

Marley Spoon Recipe Card

One thing that I’ve found Marley Spoon does really well is their recipe cards. As you can see in the picture above of one of our recipe cards, they organize the recipe into 6 steps and don’t overload you with too much text to follow in each step.

What I’ve seen before with some meal kits is that they will say that a recipe only has 6 steps but they actually cram a ton of other steps into one step. Marley Spoon doesn’t do that, at least not too frequently, based on my experience.

Another element of the recipe card that we’ve found super helpful is the pictures at each step. A lot of the popular meal kits do this these days so it’s nothing new or revolutionary but it is still helpful to visually see where you should be at each step of the cooking process.

Also, the recipe paper is actually pretty durable. It has stood up to spills and food drops pretty well without deteriorating.

Marley Spoon’s Delivery & Packaging

Unpacking Our Marley Spoon Box

Who delivers your Marley Spoon box is going to depend on where you live. In New Jersey, where we live, LaserShip delivers our Marley Spoon boxes.

Based on our past experience and from what I can see from shipment tracking, none of our boxes have taken longer than 2 days to go from Marley Spoon to our doorstep.

One thing to keep in mind though is that some people have unreliable local delivery drivers. This is something to consider when ordering a meal kit in general. Does your local delivery driver constantly delay your packages? Have they delivered your boxes to the wrong address before? When it comes to meal kits, you don’t want to have delays longer than 24 hours or the food inside the box could end up spoiling.

Marley Spoon Meal Ingredients

With that said, Marley Spoon does a decent job of packaging the food inside the box so it stays safe and insulated.

The box is insulated based on where you live. So they’ve been sending our boxes with a thinner insulation. In places where it’s hot out, such as the south, they switch to a thicker insulation.

Another aspect of their packaging I particularly like is that they do a good job making it recyclable.

  • The plastic on the ice pack can be recycled after being drained.
  • The box liner, both the thinner foil pouches and thicker cotton versions are both recyclable.
  • The ingredient packaging is all recyclable with #1 and #4 plastics.

Another thing that Marley Spoon has started doing is giving you the option to not receiving printed recipe cards and instead receive a digital recipe card sent to you via email. I like this idea from a sustainability viewpoint. However, I have to say that using your phone or even a tablet to view a recipe as you cook can sometimes be a pain. I usually find myself smearing my phone and worry about getting it dirty when cooking.

Managing Your Marley Spoon Account

Selecting Our Marley Spoon Meals

When you actually become a subscriber, you’ll have access to your own account where you select all of your meals each week.

I’ve found that they do a decent job of organizing the meals to make it easy to select what you prefer. They categorize meals by vegetarian/vegan, meat and fish, health and diet, under 30 minutes, family-friendly, and “special” (lunches, desserts, and meat packs).

Sometimes I forget to add recipes to our box before the cutoff time. If this happens to you, there’s no need to worry. I’ve found Marley Spoon does a good job of selecting recipes for you based on your taste preferences you initially set-up when creating your account. It’s definitely not perfect but most of the meals have ended up working out for us.

Let’s say your taste profile changes or you want to have other meals recommended to you instead, you can pretty easily update that in the settings section.

Customer Service

Knock on wood, we’ve never had an incident with Marley Spoon that has led us to contact customer support.

That being said, when researching for this review, I noticed that some people have had a hard time getting ahold of support. This is because Marley Spoon has taken away their chat feature, leaving people with just email instead.

The Marley Spoon Phone App

Like many other popular meal kits out there, Marley Spoon has a phone app for iOS and Android. Is it necessary to download? No, not really.

I find it makes managing your account a little more convenient since it’s easier to log in and rate past meals (to allow them to make better recommendations). Other than that, it’s mainly the same as their website.

However, if you choose not to have your recipe cards sent to you, you can easily access all your recipes from the app.

I would recommend not using the Marley Spoon app to initially sign-up for their service and instead use their main website. This is because you are not able to see the recipes within the app before giving your payment information. Whereas on the Marley Spoon website, they allow you to see what’s on the menu before paying for their service.

Cooking Our Recent Marley Spoon Meals

Now to the fun part… The meals!

Here’s a breakdown of our honest thoughts from cooking each recipe.

Take-Out Style Skillet Chicken Fajitas

Cooking The Take-Out Style Skillet Chicken Fajitas

This is the meal you can see us cook in our review video here. Although it looks involved with chopping and cooking everything separately, it was fairly simple to make. One of the best parts of this recipe, and many Marley Spoon recipes that we’ve tried before, is that they only need a few kitchen utensils. For this one, we just needed to use one cast iron pan. This makes clean up much easier.

Spice-Crusted Steak with Frizzled Onions and Chopped Salad

Cooking The Spice-Crusted Steak with Frizzled Onions and Chopped Salad

This recipe surprised me, and not in a good way. Something just seemed off in this recipe right from the start. First, it seemed much more involved than most of the other Marley Spoon recipes we’ve had in the past and even required some extra items that not many people may have just laying around (such as flour).

We also found that the recommended cooking time for the steak was way off. In fact, we ended up having to cook it nearly double the amount of time they recommended and it still was a bit on the rare side. Technically, this could have been because the steaks were pretty thick.

Lastly, we followed all the steps for the “frizzled”onions but they just came out mushy. This could all be due to user error on our part but I would say this recipe was definitely a miss.

Food Box HQ Note: If you want to see more meal examples from people who are Marley Spoon subscribers, check out the /r/marleyspoon subreddit forum. I’ve found it to be really helpful when we look for new Marley Spoon recipes to try.

Recipe Inconsistency

One of the things I like most about Marley Spoon is that they generally do a great job of taking a fancy recipe and making it much more manageable to cook. Recently though, I’ve noticed that some recipes have been more hit or miss (like the recipes above—one great, one not so great).

This could be a growing problem (since more people than ever are using meal kits) or something else entirely. Whatever it is, I hope they get it sorted out soon.

Meal Taste Test

Plated Marley Spoon Fajitas

Now let’s talk about what these meals actually taste like…

  • Take-Out Style Skillet Chicken Fajitas: This meal came out absolutely delicious. The spice level was perfect and was actually just barely spicy. The sour cream gives it a nice balance. Marinating the chicken helped it soak up all the spices and it ended up cooking perfectly tender pieces for the fajita. The veggies were fresh and crisp. Overall, definitely a winner.
  • Spice-Crusted Steak with Frizzled Onions and Chopped Salad: I wish we had the same meal experience with this one. Unfortunately, a lot of things seemed to go wrong in the cooking process and messed with the actual taste of the meal. We couldn’t get the steak to cook right, the onions came out incorrectly (weren’t crispy like they should have been), and there seemed to be way too much salad. Maybe too much salad is a good thing for some people but I felt like I was eating way more salad than the actual meal. It wasn’t a terrible meal but I wouldn’t order it again.

Marley Spoon vs. The Competition

Emily Holding The Marley Spoon Recipe Card

When it comes to comparing Marley Spoon to other popular meal kits available, they’re very similar in the core service they all provide. For each, you select the recipes you want and they send them to you.

Where these meal kits start to differ is in the little details. To give you an example from my personal experience, Marley Spoon is very comparable to HelloFresh and Blue Apron in terms of offerings. Each really focus on dinner meals and then branch out to some other offerings like lunches and desserts.

In comparing Marley Spoon to other popular meal kits, there are still little differences to consider before making your final decision. Here are the most comparable meal kits and their differences:

  • Marley Spoon vs. HelloFresh: In my opinion, Marley Spoon is most like HelloFresh. They both offer similar types of recipes. However, I find HelloFresh to be more oriented to those who are looking for more efficient recipes (making it perfect for new cooks). Another thing to note is that HelloFresh seems to have more add on options. For example, in a recent HelloFresh box we added avocados to our box, something you can’t do with Marley Spoon. That being said, Marley Spoon does sometimes have smoothies as a “meal”.
  • Marley Spoon vs. Blue Apron: Blue Apron, which is similar to HelloFresh, is also similar to Marley Spoon. However, I tend to prefer the taste of Marley Spoon meals.
  • Marley Spoon vs. Sunbasket: While both Marley Spoon and Sunbasket are super popular meal kit options, they’re not that similar. Sunbasket offers way more customization abilities. For example, they’ve transformed their service from just a meal kit to an entire marketplace (including snacks, meats, sides, and even premade meals). I also find Sunbasket offers more adventurous meals than Marley Spoon’s, which tend to be more classic and traditional.

Marley Spoon Frequently Asked Questions

Cooking Our Marley Spoon Meal

Having initially reviewed Marley Spoon all the way back in 2017, we’ve received a lot of questions from our readers and watchers of our YouTube channel about their service. I decided the best way to address these questions is by taking the most common ones and creating an FAQ section here.

Is it easy to cancel Marley Spoon?

Yes, they don’t make you jump through hoops to cancel and they don’t try to hide the ability to cancel like some other meal kits do. To cancel Marley Spoon you simply go to your settings page and scroll down to select “pause or stop subscription”.

Is Martha Stewart the founder of Marley Spoon?

Martha Stewart is not the founder or majority owner of Marley Spoon. However, she may have some type of undisclosed investment or shares in the company. The owner of Marley Spoon is Fabian Siegel. Martha Stewart is the face of the company and they use her style of recipe and cooking to influencer their menu.

Is Marley Spoon the same company as Dinnerly?

Dinnerly is owned by Marley Spoon and they’re known as one of the most affordable meal kits available. They’re also one of our favorites in terms of value.

Are there keto recipes?

With the popularity of the keto diet, we’ve received a few questions of people asking if Marley Spoon’s meals conform to keto. While there are a handful of low-carb Marley Spoon meals each week, I definitely would not recommend that someone use this as a keto meal delivery service. There are services out there like Factor Meals and Green Chef that are dedicated to keto and these specialty diets.

Marley Spoon Pricing

Marley Spoon makes pricing pretty straightforward. Here’s a breakdown of pricing depending on your plan selection.

2 Person Plan Pricing Per Meal

  • 2 meals per week comes out to $10.99 per portion
  • 3 meals per week comes out to $9.49 per portion
  • 4 meals per week comes out to $8.99 per portion
  • 5 meals per week comes out to $8.99 per portion
  • 6 meals per week comes out to $8.49 per portion

4 Person Plan Pricing Per Meal

  • 2 meals per week comes out to $8.99 per portion
  • 3 meals per week comes out to $7.99 per portion
  • 4 meals per week comes out to $7.99 per portion
  • 5 meals per week comes out to $7.49 per portion
  • 6 meals per week comes out to $6.99 per portion

As you can see, the more you order, the less expensive it becomes on a per-meal basis.

One thing to note is no matter what plan you go with, Marley Spoon will always charge you shipping ($8.99 per box).

Marley Spoon Pros & Cons

Now that we’ve gone in-depth on our experience using Marley Spoon over the years and how it works, let’s talk about some of the things I love and what I don’t…

Marley Spoon Pros

  • They have some of the best tasting meals. Even with our recent meal issue, the meals Marley Spoon puts together, on a whole, are delicious. Here’s an older video where you can see another positive cooking and taste experience.
  • They’re true to the Martha Stewart brand. Martha Stewart has always done a great job of making meals that are best described as “attainable luxury”. She takes a meal that seems elaborate and makes it easy for any skill level to create. Marley Spoon is the same way.
  • The portion sizes are decently big. Something I didn’t mention above but you could see in the images and videos are the portion sizes for many meals are pretty big. For example, I mentioned that the spice-crusted steak meal did include a huge salad and the previous review’s burger was pretty big too.

Marley Spoon Cons

  • The meals can be inconsistent. As you can tell from our recent box (cooking and taste test) we had one negative experience. While not every meal is like this, I’ve found that there has recently been more inconsistency among recipes, as others have pointed out here.
  • Poor customer service. Recently, many people have had issues contacting their support staff due to them taking away the chat feature. This is something I hope that they update and deal with in the near future.
  • Limited food variety. With Marley Spoon, you really only get dinner meals. Yes, they offer some lunches and desserts but there is not enough of those options to cover a full day’s worth of meals with a single Marley Spoon box.

Marley Spoon Coupons

If you’ve made it this far and you’re looking to try Marley Spoon, you’re in luck. We’ve collected the best coupons out there to help save you some money…

  • Coupon code “4FIT2U” will get you $80 off your first 4 boxes.
  • Coupon code “SAVE10” will get you $10 off your first 3 orders.
  • This link should activate $100 off your first 4 boxes. (As an FYI, this is our affiliate link.)

We like to include a variety of different types of coupons just in case one of them doesn’t work when you’re checking out. If you know of any others, feel free to let us know in the comments below!

Final Thoughts: Who Is Marley Spoon Right For?

Even with some of Marley Spoon’s quirks (such as reduced customer service) and some meal inconsistency, I still consider them one of the best meal kits out there (especially for those looking for Martha Stewart style recipes).

That being said, they aren’t perfect for everyone. Their recipes aren’t the quickest, so if you’re looking for an easy meal kit to make, maybe consider their lower-priced option, Dinnerly.

The meals are also mostly dinners so Marley Spoon is not going to replace going to the grocery store like a meal kit such as Sunbasket would.

If Marley Spoon is able to make their meal kit meals a bit more consistent in terms of cooking and taste, as well as add the chat feature back to their customer support, I would easily consider them one of the top 5 meal kits out there.

Have a question about Marley Spoon we didn’t answer? Leave your comment below and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible!

9 thoughts on “Marley Spoon Review: Is Martha Stewart’s Meal Delivery Kit Really Worth It?”

  1. My family loves Martha’s Marley Spoon! This is our first meal delivery subscription and we’re so happy we finally did it. Her recipes are so delicious that the kids even join me in the kitchen to help cook. Thanks Martha!

    Reply
  2. I just hopped over to the website, and shipping is NOT free – it is $8.99 – just like Dinnerly 0 which I believe is another branch of Marley Spoon. When did the shipping costs start up? Not such a deal anymore…

    Reply
  3. I have been seeing these ads ever since I started to look at all of these meal kit services. I have looked at HelloFresh, Blue Apron, and Marley Spoon. I am trying to learn how to cook better meals for my family. These all look like they will help teach me but I do not see what the differences are between them. Can you help me?

    Reply
    • I would consider all three options you listed as good for learning how to cook. If I had to choose one, I would go with HelloFresh. They’ve consistently had delicious meals and they give you a lot of recipe options to choose from for different skill levels.

      Reply
  4. Marley Spoon is great until it isn’t. I had a box that did not arrive on time. When it did show up, the ice was melted and all of the protein was warm to the touch and not safe to eat. Getting help is a bit of a challenge. Their customer service reps will tell you what you want to hear and then not deliver. They listen to the complaints, sound like they really want to help, tell you they will be sending you an email and that email never arrives. When calling there is also a very good chance that the call will be disconnected. I find it hard to believe that @marthastewart48 would attach her name to this company.

    Reply

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